Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 3 (Part-2) Karma Yogah- Yoga Of Action


ye twetad abhyasooyanto naanutishthanti  me matam
    sarvajnaanavimoodham staan viddhi nashtaan  achetasah // 3.32 //

But  those who find fault with my teaching and do not practice it, deluded in all  knowledge and devoid of discrimination, know them to be doomed to destruction.

Sri  Krishna warns here that those who are obstinate in finding fault with His  teachings without practicing them are doomed for destruction.  Such people will be more and more deluded and  will lose their discrimination.

Karma  Yoga is a way of life and one has to live it if one wants to receive His grace.  The path of work is a process of elimination of desires in us. When egoism and  egocentric desires are eliminated the work done through such pure mind is a  divine action which will have enduring achievements.  To the extent an individual does not practice  this efficient way of work he loses his discriminative capacity and ultimately  will meet his destruction.


sadrisham cheshtate swasyaah prakriter  jnaanavaan api
    prakritim yaanti bhootani nigrahah kim  karishyati // 3.33 //

Even  a wise man acts in accordance with his own nature; beings will follow nature;  what can restraint do?

The  question as to why some people do not follow the teachings of The Lord and  instead act on their own is answered in this verse; the reason is that their  lower nature proves too strong for them. Every one is conditioned by his  thoughts which in turn are influenced by his nature (tendency) or prakriti.  Even an honest person finds it difficult to practice the technique in life  shown by The Lord because of his own mental conditioning overwhelmed by his  incapacity to pursue the path of action.

Prakriti  is the mental equipment with which one is born as the result of the past acts  performed in a previous life. This nature is the mainspring of the man’s  action. This must run its course; there is no escape from this and even God  cannot prevent its operation (Shankara). Even He ordains that past deeds  produce their natural effects.

Restraint  or forcible repression of senses for renouncing activities cannot be of much  avail since actions flow inevitably from the workings of Prakriti and the Self  is only an important witness. This indicates the omnipotence of the nature over  the Self which makes us to act according to our nature, the law of our being.  However, this is not a statement of despair to the effect that there is no  scope for personal exertion to reach the highest goal and that the teachings of  Sri Krishna are all purposeless. On the other hand it is a call to find out our  true being and give expression to it as explained in the next verse.


indriyasye'ndriyasyaarthe raagadweshau  vyavasthitau
    tayor na vasham aagacchet tau hyasya  paripanthinau // 3.34 //

The  love and hatred that the senses feel for their objects are inevitable. But let  none come under their sway; for, they are his enemies.

Attachment  and aversion of the sense organs to sense objects are natural to every one.  Although the sense objects as such are not capable of attraction or repulsion it  is the mind which produces such agitations because of its being conditioned by  vasanas. Thus mind develops attachment for the agreeable objects and aversion  for disagreeable ones. Sri Krishna does not advise running away from the sense  objects but emphatically says `Let none come under its sway' meaning that one  should be a master of the senses and not their victim.

If  we do not interfere attachments and aversions will determine our acts. So long  as we act in certain ways because we like them and abstain from some others  because we dislike them we will be bound by our actions.

But  if we overcome these impulses from our egocentric ideas and act from a sense of  duty, we cannot be the victims of the play of Prakriti. Thus in the process of  controlling the mind - stopping it from running after the objects of attachment  and aversion -   lies the personal  exertion for the seeker.  That is his  Purushartha.

Linking  this advice to the previous verse it can be understood that it is not possible  for anybody to renounce all his activities forcibly. But man can by changing  the aim of his life, turn the course of life from one direction to the other.  In other words, avoiding likes and dislikes he  can convert his actions as aids to God-realization.


shreyaan swadharmo vigunah paradharmaat  swanushthitaat
    swadharme nidhanam shreyah paradharmo  bhayaavahah // 3.35 //

Better  is one's own duty, though imperfectly performed, than the duty of another well performed.  Better is death in the doing of one's own duty;  the duty of another is fraught with peril.

Although  the word Dharma is meant here as duty, in a special sense it is one's own basic  nature or vasana. Swadharma is the type of vasanas one finds in his mind. To  act according to one's taste, inborn and natural, is the only method to live in  peace and joy. To act against one's vasanas is to act in terms of Paradharma  which is fraught with danger.

Here  the Swadharma of Arjuna is that of a prince and not that of Brahmana. He wanted  to take up the latter abandoning the former. In this verse Sri Krishna reminds  him that to act according to his own vasanas or Dharma, even though imperfect,  is the right path for his development. It is dangerous to suppress one's own  personality expression and imitate the activities of others, however divinely  they may be. There is more happiness in doing one's own work even without  excellence than in doing another's duty well. We must play our part, manfully,  be it great or small.

The  implication is that Arjuna's thought of desisting from fight and going in for  the calm and peaceful life of a Brahmana is prompted by man's natural desire to  shun what is disagreeable and adopt what is momentarily agreeable to the  senses.  He should on no account yield to  such weakness. It is indeed much better for a person to die while discharging  his own duty, though it may not have any merit, than doing the duty of another,  though it may be performed in a perfect manner, because the duty of another has  many pitfalls.

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